For Word document to ePub conversion, files should be as simple as possible to ensure the smoothest conversion experience. Sometimes, improper Word formatting can even lead to validation errors, which will prevent your book from successfully going to OverDrive. To make your ePub as great as it can be, read these guidelines carefully.
Table of Contents
If you would like to include a Table of Contents page inside your book, then you will need to create one inside your document. However, note that even without creating this page, if you have formatted your chapter headers properly, when users read your book using our app or devices, they will be able to navigate to the various chapters of your book using a built-in navigation function.
How to set up page navigation
For chapter titles to appear in the navigation pane for your book, you need to format them as “Heading 1”. This can be done by highlighting the chapter title text, and then selecting “Heading 1” under the Styles menu. The location of this menu may vary depending on the version of Word you are using. Generally, this is near to where font selections are made.
Formatting your chapter titles in this manner is highly recommended as it enhances the reading experience.
Please note that headings should not also be part of a numbered list. This will create validation errors when your book is converted to an ePub. If the text is meant to be numbered, you can remove the heading formatting.
How to set up a Table of Contents page
Setting up a Table of Contents (TOC) within the book itself is entirely up to you. As mentioned previously, this is not needed for the purposes of navigation; however, you may still feel that it would be of interest to your readers.
When deciding whether or not to include a TOC, you may want to keep in mind that when you publish your book to Kobo, a preview of the first 5% of the book is made available to readers. If you would like readers to be able to immediately dive into the first chapter, then perhaps you would not want to include a TOC. However, in other cases, particularly for non-fiction or cookbooks, prospective readers might enjoy perusing the TOC to get an overview of the contents of the book.
To set up a TOC:
- Ensure that all headings that you would like to appear in the TOC (i.e. chapter titles) are formatted as “Heading 1”. (See How to set up page navigation above for an example)
- Insert the TOC by going to the References menu and selecting “Table of Contents”. A TOC will appear at the location of your cursor.
- Verify that the headings in the TOC are hyperlinked to the correct location in the book.
- Delete the page numbers that appear in the TOC.
It is extremely important to delete the page numbers because pages work differently in eBooks than in print books, or Word documents. Once your book is converted to an ePub, these numbers will be meaningless and could even possibly cause conversion errors.
eBook pages are reflowable. This means that the content that appears on a page is adjusted based on the size of the device the reader is using, and also based on their own preferences. Readers can enlarge or shrink font sizes, alter line spacing, and even change the font of the book they are reading. This is important to keep in mind as you are formatting your book.
- Margins and Page Size
- We recommend using the standard 1” Margin and 8.5” X 11” Page Size available on Word. Any other margins will cause your book to be poorly formatted after conversion. Your page layout should be in Portrait, not Landscape.
- Page Breaks
- We support Page Breaks. These can be used when you need the next section to begin on a new page, for example, at the end of Chapters.
- Section Breaks
- Section Breaks can be used to break up large Chapters. This is often used to indicate a change in location or character, within a text. If you’re using Section Breaks, we recommend providing an indication to the reader that there is a Section Break. For example, many books use three centered asterisks - ***.
- Paragraph Indentation
- To create an indented paragraph, you can simply use the Paragraph dialog box in Word. This will allow you to set the indentation size. You can also indent using the Tab key.
- Do not use columns in your document. These are not supported.
- To create a bulleted list, use the built-in bulleted list tool. Do not insert symbols to create bullets – most symbols will translate into a question mark ("?"). To create a numbered list or multilevel outline, use the built-in numbered list tool. Images should not be included in lists.
- Ensure that your tables can be viewed when your Word document is in Portrait mode, rather than in Landscape. This will guarantee that the tables fit on the page after conversion.
- Headers & Footers
- Headers and footers are not supported.
- Footnotes & Endnotes
- Endnotes are supported, but footnotes are not.
- Please use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier New. Bolding, italic, underlining, and strike-through are all supported.
- Superscripts and subscripts
- Both superscripts and subscripts are supported.
- Avoid using most symbols. Also, ensure that any fractions are kept in #/# format (ex: 1/4). Word will automatically format fractions to appear as symbols, which will not translate correctly at conversion to ePub.
- File size
- We recommend that images are no larger than 3MB. It is also important to keep in mind that the maximum file size for the entire book (images included) is 100MB.
- File format
- Both JPG and PNG files are accepted.
- File name
- Please ensure that the file names for your images do not contain any of the following: spaces, +, &, and accented characters such as â, ó, etc
- For best results, your image should be 900 DPI (dots-per-inch). However, files as low as 300 DPI are also fine.
- Images can be formatted as flush left, flush right, or centered.
- Text wrapping
- Text wraps should be above and below the images, not around the image.
Once converted to an ePub, your book will be reflowable. This means that the content on a page will vary, based on the device it is viewed on and on reader preferences. For example, when viewed on a tablet, there will be more words displayed on each page than if viewed on a mobile phone.
As a result, we ask that you do not insert page numbers into your document. These will be ignored during the conversion process, and will cause your book to be poorly formatted.